Week #6 - Social and Ethical Issues (due 2/25)
Antoine and Naomi's first child has cystic firbrosis. They would like to have a second child but want to make sure the child does not have cystic fibrosis. After in vitro fertilization, seven embryos are screened for the presence of the disease. Of the seven, two are determined to have the disease. Prior to preimplantation, Antoine and Naomi asked the doctor to screen the remaining "healthy" five embryos for gender as they want to have only one more child, and they want that child to be a boy to carry on the family name. What would you tell the couple if you were the doctor? Is there a difference, in your opinion, between screening for a genetic disease and gender? If a genetic test for a phenotype exists, should the screening be available (e.g., if Antoine and Naomi asked to select an embryo carrying the genes to express blue eyes and blond hair should they be able to do so)? What are some potential implications of selecting for alleles that do not have an impact on survival? What types of genetic screening, if any, should be available?